UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State point guard and leading scorer Tim Frazier will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon, a devastating blow for the rebuilding Big Ten program.
Frazier was injured about six minutes into the Nittany Lions' 85-60 loss Sunday to Akron at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Coach Patrick Chambers said Frazier was undergoing surgery Tuesday, with a recovery period of 6-12 months. The team plans to apply for a fifth year of eligibility for Frazier on a medical redshirt, but cannot officially turn in the paperwork until after the season.
"Obviously, my heart goes out to Tim Frazier. ... He's done everything I've asked him to do and then some," said Chambers, the second-year coach. "He will rebound from this injury. He will come back bigger, better and stronger, which is scary."
A preseason All-Big Ten selection and player-of the-year award candidate, Frazier finished the year averaging 16.3 points over four games. The senior led the Big Ten last year in assists (6.2 per game), and also paced team in scoring (18.8 points) and steals (2.4).
Frazier relied on his quickness to get into the lane for smooth tear-drop jumpers and layups. He was expected to combine with Southern Miss transfer D.J. Newbill in an upgraded backcourt as Penn State sought to improve on last year's 12-20 season.
Now Newbill will have to slide over to point guard, with starting small forward Jermaine Marshall likely moving to the backcourt.
"Our roles change dramatically," Newbill said. "Tim was a big part of the team. We've got to step up and fill that spot."
The Nittany Lions led Akron 36-32 at the half, but Chambers said his team got deflated in the second half after Frazier went down. The energetic coach whose mantra is "Attitude" is trying to erase the gloomy outlook headed into Friday's game against Bucknell.
"We've got to defend and rebound and not feel sorry for ourselves," Chambers said. "The sky's not falling. The season's not over."
Penn State is 2-2.